By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - A decades-old medical mystery - why antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta carotene seemed to accelerate the growth of early lung tumors in high-risk populations such as smokers, rather than protect them from cancer, as theory suggests - may have been solved, according to research published on Wednesday. In essence, "antioxidants allow cancer cells to escape cells' own defense system" against tumors, biologist Per Lindahl of Sweden's University of Gothenburg and a co-author of the study told reporters. That lets existing tumors, even those too small to be detected, proliferate uncontrollably. The findings imply that "taking extra antioxidants might be harmful and could speed up the growth of (any) tumors," said biologist and co-author Martin Bergo of Gothenburg, adding, "If I had a patient with lung cancer, I would not recommend they take an antioxidant." The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, did not examine whether antioxidants can also initiate lung cancer, rather than accelerate the growth of existing tumors. Nor did it examine whole foods naturally high in antioxidants. But it adds to a growing pile of research challenging the health benefits of taking vitamin supplements except in cases of malnutrition. Last month, a review of dozens of studies found "no clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements" on heart disease, cancer or mortality. An accompanying editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine warned that "beta carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful," while other antioxidants "are ineffective." The new antioxidant study "seems quite sound," said Eliseo Guallar, professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a co-author of the editorial. "It's unfortunate that the public has the idea that vitamin supplements are good and antioxidants are better." One concern about the new study is that the mice received doses of vitamin E at least four times, and as much as 50 times, Americans' recommended daily intake, noted Duffy MacKay of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the supplement industry trade group. Government data show that 90 percent of Americans have diets that contain less than the recommended intake of vitamin E, he said, calling the Swedish study "very interesting and hypothesis-generating," but not one that should change behavior. PROTECTING DNA Of all the gaps between biological theory and medical reality, few are as stark as that involving antioxidants. In cells growing in the lab, antioxidants scavenge and disable free radicals, reactive chemicals produced during normal metabolism that can harm DNA and other components of cells. By the 1980s that had led to the idea that by protecting DNA from damage, antioxidants might prevent cancer and other disease and launched a bull market in antioxidants that continues unabated, with packages of cereal, granola bars, juice and more all touting their antioxidants and health magazines and television shows urging consumers to load up on them. For the new study, the Gothenburg scientists gave vitamin E and a generic drug called N-acetylcysteine, both antioxidants, to mice with early lung cancer. The vitamin E doses were comparable to those in supplements; the doses of acetylcysteine, which is prescribed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to reduce mucus, were relatively low. The antioxidants caused a 2.8-fold increase in lung tumors, made the tumors more invasive and aggressive, and caused the mice to die twice as quickly - all compared to mice not given antioxidants. When the antioxidants were added to human lung tumor cells in lab dishes, they also accelerated cancer growth. That result jibed with the many studies finding that "antioxidants do not protect against cancer in healthy people and may increase it" or promote it in those who already do, said Bergo. The significant advance in the study was pinpointing how this can be. What seems to happen is that antioxidants indeed decrease DNA damage, as expected. But the damage becomes so insignificant as to be undetectable by the cell. The cell therefore does not deploy its cancer-defense system, which is based on a protein called p53. Ordinarily, if the p53 system detects significant DNA damage, such as from ultraviolet light, it kills the cell before it can become malignant. By allowing cancer cells to stay below the radar of p53, antioxidants allow tumors to thrive, the study found. The scientists stressed that the results do not pertain to foods such as fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in antioxidants. As for people with COPD who are taking acetylcysteine (a generic), "we think that should be carefully evaluated," Bergo said. Although the study investigated only lung cancer and two antioxidants, previous research suggests that other cancers can also be accelerated by antioxidants, Bergo said, and that other antioxidants have this effect. The National Cancer Institute already advises cancer patients that antioxidant supplements "should be used with caution." The discovery of how antioxidants thwart cells' innate cancer-fighting machinery might explain why a groundbreaking 1994 study found an 18 percent higher incidence of lung cancer among 29,133 male smokers who received beta carotene than those who did not. The result was so unexpected and unwelcome that the editorial in the journal where it was published tried to dismiss it as "an extreme play of chance." "It's disappointing but not surprising that people's beliefs are not modified by scientific evidence," said Dr Paul Marantz, an epidemiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "People so want to believe there is a magic bullet out there." (Editing by Douglas Royalty)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
- Business Insider
Hooters employees are pushing back against new revealing uniforms that include shorts so short that they're 'like underwear'
"Soooo Hooters got new panties. I mean shorts," wrote one TikTok user. "Love my job but don't love wearing undies to work," wrote another.
- Yahoo Sports
It doesn't get much uglier than what happened in Knoxville on Saturday night. The question is what's going to be done about it.
- Washington Examiner
Who wears short shorts?
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos GettyThe mainstream media’s credibility took another big hit this week. Katie Couric, the former co-host of NBC’s Today show, revealed in a new memoir that she chose not to air some controversial comments made to her five years ago by the sainted Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, involving RBG’s criticism of NFL players like Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem.Couric says she was “conflicted” because she was a “big RBG fan,
- USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta went the traditional route, with starter Max Fried, and won Game 1. It was a game they couldn’t squander. considering who they will face next.
- Country Living
LeAnn Rimes rocked the stage at the Austin City Limits music festival. Fans have a lot to say about her sheer, lace dress that she posted on Instagram.
- E! News
The 22-year-old singer, whose real name was Emani Johnson, died after experiencing a "tragic accident," her manager told E! News.
Jennifer Gates, the eldest daughter of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, announced her engagement to Nayel Nassar in January 2020
- NBC Sports Boston
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, Gisele, drew some attention Saturday by appearing to reference New England in a Twitter exchange.
- Eat This, Not That!
Browsing the supplement aisle at your local drugstore or supermarket can feel overwhelming. In front of you are countless supplements claiming to provide everything from better heart health to improved cognitive function to weight loss. And while some supplements do deliver on their promises, many fall short. Worse yet, some could do more harm than good.In fact, there's one supplement that has so much potential to cause harm that experts recommend you avoid it entirely. According to Courtney D'A
- Wolverines Wire
A couple upsets and a near miss means some big movement this week!
- NBC News
One employee on TikTok described the new shorts as "like underwear."
- Associated Press
Eric M. Smith, who was 13 when he killed a 4-year-old boy with a rock in western New York, has been granted parole, corrections officials said on Saturday. Smith, now 41, appeared for the 11th time before the Board of Parole on October 5 and was granted release as early as Nov. 17, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in an emailed statement. Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in 1994 for luring Derrick Robie into woods near the younger boy's home and striking his head with a rock.
Before and after photos of the course reveal dramatic change.
Former officer and NASA exec found guilty of murdering neighbor after years of disputes over loud music and dog poop
After Michael Hetle fired a seventh and final shot into Javon Prather's body, he turned to Prather's wife and asked, "You want it too?"
When it comes down to it, the greatest threat to your comfort in retirement is you.
- The Weather Network
The resurgent phenomenon typically has effects far from its normal Pacific Ocean locale.
Some say a fermented apple a day will help stabilize blood sugar, support weight loss, and lower blood pressure—here’s the truth.
- Nets Wire
Kyrie Irving's absence could force the Nets to trade him, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski, other teams are wary.
Los Angeles County is asking Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, and other family members to submit psychiatric exams in their legal dispute over photos of the helicopter crash scene that took her husband and daughter’s lives. The request was made in a court filing on Friday. It stems from a legal point: Did Vanessa Bryant […]